While traveling the streets in Grove, you may have seen a large white transport van wrapped in pictures of dogs and cats.

In January of this year, Second Chance Pet Rescue of Grand Lake purchased a new animal transport services cargo van made possible by receiving a $37,000 grant from PetSmart Charities.

The new services cargo van is used to transport adoptable pets to prospective pet parents outside of Oklahoma, as well as to provide pet transportation of its rescued dogs and cats for local veterinary needs and off-site adoption events.

Pictured is Kathi Sikorski of Signs by Sikorski who prepared the new van wrap with the Second Chance Pet Rescue and PetSmart Charities logos and pictures of actual adopted pets from the Second Chance Pet Rescue shelter. Our sincerest thank you to Kathi for a beautiful job well done.

In order to save more lives of homeless animals other than relying on adoption from its shelter facility alone, Second Chance Pet Rescue entered into a "transfer partnership" in 2010 with Golden Valley, Minnesota, Animal Humane Society (www.animalhumanesociety.org).

Since 2010, our volunteer drivers have transported approximately 1,300 dogs. The program allows Second Chance Pet Rescue to bring pets to areas where the demand for pet adoption is high, so its shelter pets have the best chance possible at finding their forever family.

The first transport vehicle for Second Chance Pet Rescue was a small mini van which traveled to Minnesota with pet carriers stacked from top to bottom.

Later, a larger van donated by FRAMP, Inc. of Kansas, Oklahoma, was used for transport services, but still a larger, more dependable animal transport van was needed.

Stephanie Epps, Second Chance Pet Rescue Board President said, "We'd like to thank PetSmart Charities for believing in 'second chances' and helping us secure a new RAM ProMaster 3500 animal services cargo van."

The monthly transport of homeless animals is no easy task, and Second Chance Pet Rescue bears the cost of the required vaccinations, heartworm testing, and veterinary care since each animal must have a health certificate prior to transport, as well as all of the transportation costs.

Each transport process takes about two to three weeks of prior planning to make it a success. On the day of transport, shelter employees and volunteers prepare the pet carriers, bathe the dogs, place a disposable collar with the pet's name on each animal, and make sure all paperwork is finalized.

Starting at 8 p.m., the dogs are walked, loaded into pet crates, then the crates are placed strategically inside the transport vehicle and secured. Volunteer drivers are on the road to Minnesota around 9 p.m., to drive all night to arrive at Golden Valley early in the morning.

Animals are then unloaded and checked in at Animal Humane Society, and the volunteers are then back on the road to return to Oklahoma.

This takes a tremendous amount of planning and energy on the part of the shelter staff and volunteers, but these people are committed to the long hours and hard work in order that these wonderful and amazing animals can find their forever home. Second Chance Pet Rescue cannot thank these people enough for their compassion for the animals.

Future "Drive to Save Lives" transports will continue in order to save more lives of homeless animals in Northeast Oklahoma, but financial help to continue future transports is needed. 

Second Chance Pet Rescue of Grand Lake is located on Highway 10, two miles east of the stoplight at Third and Main, in Grove.

Shelter hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. After hour appointments are available at 918-786-7630.

For more information, to adopt a pet, or to make a donation, persons interested may call 918-786-7630 or email hsgrove@att.net, follow the group on Facebook at http://bit.ly/secondchancepetrescuegrandlake, or visit http://doitforthepets.com. Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 451205, Grove, OK., 74345.